Is there ever such a thing as too much of a good thing? I came to think about it after following a discussion on Twitter about how news media may have been a contributor to their own digital demise by doing too much – or rather: publishing too much – rather than too little.
The argument against publishing, publishing and publishing more is that by betting on speed and volume, quality goes down. The finished product becomes thinner, offers less value to readers, which again drives down engagement, advertising revenue and – crucially – the likeliness of subscribing for a fee.
On the other hand, media execs may argue that there are great examples of great businesses being successful based on an abundance of content. Netflix is perhaps the best example, where precisely the vastness of the catalogue is a big reason to describe.
Here it is just worth noting that while shows on Netflix predominantly age well and stay relevant, the same cannot be said about news media. So when we compare the two, we’re comparing the value of infinity with the value of sheer speed. And here infinity always wins.
One of the easiest things is to get carried away by your great idea. For many aspiring entrepreneurs it just happens straight out of the gate. But even for those who have learned and accepted that getting to product/market-fit is an experimental process, it can be tricky to stay the course and be true to your process.
Staying nimble when you need to is a virtue. With an emphasis on ‘when you need to’. Because of course there comes a time – hopefully – where it makes a ton of sense to just do whatever it takes to hit it out of the park. Chances are though that that won’t be the first thing you need to do. And that doing it anyway may send you seriously off course – sometimes without the ability to recover.
A good way of staying the course could be to have a simple process drawn down. David J. Bland has an excellent one in a video here, where he connects Pirate Metrics for growth with experimentation and how to allocate time and budget. That is exactly what you need to make sure that you stay focused on the right things at the right points of time and that you stay the course and stay nimble, when you need to.
Forget all the bling bling of this world. The newest luxury item – and a valuable one – is going to be privacy. Just ask Jeff Bezos.
With face recognition being unleashed in the public space and all the continued discussion around tracking of people and our data, there is going to be huge potential in a new market that helps give consumers – well off consumers – control of their own privacy back.
When that happens it will likely be one of the most defining moments for truly separating people in the ‘have’ and ‘have not’ buckets in societies rampant on tracking.
This week I joined the Y Combinator Startup School programme. The first lessons have been completed, and yesterday evening we had our first group session with other early stage startup-projects. And what fun it was.
It is a truly great programme that the Startup School has created. The curriculum is pretty ambitious and advanced, and the speakers give you confidence that they know what this is about, and that if you follow their lead and let yourself inspire, you will move towards a really good place (if you put in the necessary work yourself, of course).
The group session is also great. Because it gives you two things that you shouldn’t underestimate: It gives you somebody to be accountable too; i.e. what have you done the last week, what are you doing the next, how are your metrics etc. And it gives you the opportunity to practice pitching your story and see if people get it and choose your product to want to join, if they had to pick just one.
From that angle, first session went really well; all the others chose the project, I am participating with. So naturally, I am quite pumped.
Yesterday marked the climax of our iQnite case competition on climate change at inQvation. 5 teams pitched their ideas for solutions in front of a very experienced and competetent panel.
All the teams did a great job, and in the end Kleen Hub ran away with it. I will now get the opportunity to help them grow their circular concept within fast food packaging over the coming months. It is a really great team with an equally great idea, and I can’t wait to get started.
It has been an amazing experience to start from scratch with no more than a vague idea and then finish off with being able to crown a winner. We have learned a lot from it – the good and the not so good – and we will spend the coming weeks reflecting and documenting our learnings, so we can hopefully return with a new edition of the iQnite case competition at some later point.
It is not that often that I recommend stuff. And in fact I have never recommended a podcast before. But lo and behold, there is a first time for everything.
Today, my very first podcast recommendation goes to the brilliant ‘Pivot’ podcast from Vox Media Network starring Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. You should really check it out if you are into everything in the intersection between business and tech. It is twice a week now, and it is pure gold.
Especially professor Galloway – who also has his own blog – calls them like he sees them. He is razor sharp in his analysis, and good fun to listen to as well. If for nothing else, hearing him read the sponsorship messages is worth the entire experience in itself. Go, go, GO and check it out.
Today this winters Startup School at Y Combinator kicks off with the first lessons. And I will be a part of it.
The 8 week programme is for aspiring entrepreneurs or people who have already embarked on the journey. And I have enlisted to both learn, reflect and just plain see, what it is that the worlds leading accelerator wants to put founders through in order to be able to create a successful startup.
I will be monitoring my progress and share here as time and purpose permits. I am not expecting too much, but I think it will be an interesting experience. And something everybody looking to create a startup should consider putting themselves through. If for nothing else then just for gaining the respect for what is actually needed to succeed (hint: it is about much more than ability to build a product).
At inQvation we have a lot of different projects in the pipeline. This includes a couple of projects that we feel strongly about in terms of potential to become new, great startups.
In order get these projects to market, I am hiring a new frontend developer for the Studio team. The right candidate has a couple of years of hands-on experience, an efficient toolbox and a personality that just want to ship things and see what happens in the market.
We work very experiment driven, so we will be doing everything from landing pages to MVPs (and potentially beyond if the project is right), and there is amble opportunity to have a personal impact on the work that we do as a team. We are ambitious, celebrate success and learn from failure, and if that sounds like a lot of fun for you too, then apply today!
Eventhough I am a big proponent of starting small and experimenting your way forward when building a startup or a new product or service for that matter, there is one thing that always needs to be in place: A vision.
It is so easy to get an idea and just start executing small scale. It is harder to succeed in closing the first sale, but it becomes super tricky if that first sale is not supported by a vision of where it is you want to take your new company long term.
With a vision in place, you will know whether your first sale sets you off in the right direction and gives you something to build on. With a vision in place, your chances of making that first sale happen based on criteria and terms that supports your overall goal increases. Without a vision you risk tumbling in the dark. And – more importantly – without a vision you risk building a business that will never really be able to take off but will just (best case) hum along.
Even the best and brightest ideas should start small on the implementation side. Just out of respect for the fact that you could have it terribly wrong. Especially if your opportunity is huge, you need to be mindful that you don’t run the risk of creating a big mess by overreaching from the ‘go’.
Naturally, if you are developing a brand new and hugely innovative service or product, the world has never seen before and thus not know it needs, you will think differently about it. My point is just that those invention cases are the outliers. Most of the time you will be trying to improve on something already out there.
Moving in smaller steps doesn’t kill your opportunity. Because of course you have a flexible roadmap that will adapt as you move along and learn more. And because you learn and show respect you will gain trust of those you are trying to serve. And that trust will serve you well when getting to the point where you start reaping all the good stuff you have sowed.